Addressing concerns of the industry associated with implementation of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) norms through the amended Companies Bill is one of the top priorities of the new minister for company affairs M Veerappa Moily.
In an exclusive interview with Business Standard, immediately after taking charge, Moily said his focus would be on implementation of CSR without any coercion.
Outlining his agenda, the minister for company affairs said he would ensure introduction of the Companies Bill in the forthcoming monsoon session of Parliament.
“The amended Companies Bill has already been drafted. There are a few concerns which need to be addressed and I am doing it before it goes to the cabinet,” he said. “On CSR norms, companies have raised some concerns and anxieties and I would like to see that those things are sorted out. I will have some brainstorming sessions with the concerned parties and will take it forward,” added Moily.
He said CSR was yet to take off in India and develop as a culture like it was in the western countries. “I will like to focus my attention on that. Ministry of corporate affairs will work on certain common grounds by which CSR is implemented, but at the same time, I don’t believe in coercion,” he said.
Faster reforms assured
A day after industrial growth posted a nine-month low figure for May, commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma today assured the industry of faster reforms and decided to form a joint task force with the industry to have greater dialogue on issues of their concern.
“We discussed everything regarding the economic scenario, the factors which have led to slowdown in capital formation, in mining, in manufacturing. We have agreed to have a structured format of regular dialogue between industry and government, which has been taking place but we will put it in a structured format and also to have a similar dialogue in regional headquarters … The government and industry also agreed to have a joint task force,” Sharma told reporters after having a review meeting with business leaders under the aegis of CII.
Land Bill in Parliament by Aug 30
Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh announced today that the Land Acquisition Bill draft would be made public in a week and the Bill itself be before Parliament by August 30. Only a single bill would be tabled, he said.
This is what the National Advisory Council had advised. His statements came after a long meeting he held today on the land Bill, also attended by the NAC’s member-secretary, A Raju, as well as NAC member N C Saxena, besides his ministry officials.
A key point recommended by NAC is that landless dependents of the acquired land should be adequately compensated. Ramesh has said this would be ensured. “It is not just compensation to land owners but the more important issue is to compensate those whose livelihood depends on the land. This is the most important matter. Compensation is the second important issue,” he said.
He also said ‘public purpose’ would be defined comprehensively and clearly in the Bill.” The purpose for which the land is being acquired, whether it is for critical infrastructure or for golf courses, are important issues that have to be discussed,” he said.
Environment issues to remain mainstream
Environment issues will remain mainstream on the government agenda, said Jayanthi Natarajan in her first interaction with the media after taking charge of the ministry today. She replaced Jairam Ramesh as minister in yesterday’s reshuffle.
“All environment issues are and will remain mainstream,” Natarajan said, thereby dismissing the concern that after Jairam’s exit, activity at the ministry would slow down.
Apparently upset over not being elevated to Cabinet rank, Srikant Jena today kept everyone guessing as to whether he would assume charge as the minister of state for statistics & programme implementation with independent charge.
Jena remained at his home but incommunicado, with his staff saying he was scheduled to go to Orissa either this evening or tomorrow morning in connection with the rally of Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi in the state.
Officials in the ministry said no function regarding assumption of office by the new minister was scheduled for today.
Telecom access to rural areas high on agenda
Milind Deora today took charge as the minister of state for communications and information technology and said his top priority would be to increase penetration of telephone services in rural areas.
“My first priority as a minister will be to increase telephony services in rural areas and that too, at affordable prices,” Deora said. “The services offered will have to be affordable, but has to give revenues to the government as well,” he added.
Deora, a two-time Lok Sabha MP, has become the minister after resignation of his father Murli Deora as a Cabinet minister.
Delay in modernisation a concern
BENI PRASAD VERMA
A day after being elevated to the Cabinet rank, Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma raised concerns over the delay in some big-ticket projects that is leading to production losses by steel companies.
“Delay in modernisation is still a concern. This is leading to huge production losses,” Verma said today.
He said the country needed to encourage such huge projects due to their capacity to generate large-scale income and employment.
His priority would be to ensure more steel projects in the next few years. However, he raised concerns on the need to ramp up production by SAIL.